Pat Ellis was born in 1930 and has also lived in Teddington all her life. She was baptised, took her first Holy Communion, was confirmed and married at Sacred Heart.
As a child I remember the church being full. There were three masses on Sunday – at 0830, 0930 and 1100 and at Christmas and Easter you couldn’t get through the door. I do remember thinking the sermons were too long. Both my parents were from the south of Ireland so they were very strict Catholics. We had Benediction every Sunday and we were sent of to church every Saturday to clean the candlesticks. I remember scrubbing the floor on my knees.
We had a very lively Sunday youth club. There were dancing lessons, table tennis and lots of interaction with other parishes. We used to go on coach trips to Littlehampton. Church was your social life and a lot of people got married after meeting at the youth club.
I think people’s attitude to faith has changed. When I was young we never questioned Catholicism but my children did. They would say “Yes but so and so doesn’t go to church every Sunday”. I was brought up to think that not going to mass on Sunday was a mortal sin. Now people seem a lot more relaxed but they are just as devout. Young people have a more personal approach to the Lord – they don’t feel guilt like we did. My parents were strict but when they died they left behind the most precious gift, which is our faith.